Men’s basketball needs cohesion

Samantha Shafia, Associate Sports Editor

If this year’s men’s basketball team wants to find success on the court, head coach Ed Conroy must blend his new crop of players to find the necessary combination of competitive, ambitious returning and new athletes to mold a successful rotation. 

The squad’s 89-69 exhibition win against Loyola Nov. 5 at Devlin Fieldhouse indicated that Tulane’s core group has the necessary offensive punch to compete in the American Athletic Conference, aside from Tulane’s ranking last in the coaches’ AAC preseason poll. 

Redshirt junior guard Malik Morgan and senior guard Louis Dabney create a dynamic scoring backcourt duo, while newcomer graduate student center Jernard Jarreau, sophomore forward Dylan Osetkowski and junior center Ryan Smith can man the boards down low.

After the departure of vital players in Conroy’s rotation a season ago, the coach has the challenge of mixing his key returners, in Dabney, Osetkowski and Smith, with a combination of unproven newcomers, including five freshmen, Jarreau and Morgan, who sat out a year of eligibility after transferring from LSU. 

Due to the influx of new players and loss of key players, the three starting basketball player positions are not yet set in stone. Against Loyola New Orleans, Conroy started Dabney, like years past, as well as Osetkowski at the power-forward, but inputted Morgan, Jarreau and freshmen versatile swingman Melvin Frazier.

Though unclear if the starting lineup is set in stone, playing time is up for grabs, and whenever a fresh team is assembled, it’s only natural for players to show their skills — and impress the coaches and take risky shots — or pad their stats, instead of selflessly playing within a system to make extra passes that may not show up on the stat sheet. 

In basketball, one individual simply cannot single-handedly win a game. Playing for the team and not oneself will be key throughout the coming season. 

Conroy must work quickly to mend the perfect rotation that complements each other in a seamless fashion. 

If the team quickly discovers the solid groove necessary to weave its way through competitions, the Wave will have the talent to make some noise in the conference.

The team’s next chance to band together will be against Alabama A&M at 8 p.m. Friday in Devlin Fieldhouse.